Whether you’re packing for yourself or letting others do it, it’s always important to plan ahead! In either case, you may want to see to fragile or valuable items. But please note—movers are not responsible for damage to boxes you’ve packed yourself.

Before you start…
You might want to create an informal schedule of what things to pack when. Most importantly, plan for a box of “Open First/Pack Last” essentials like:

  • Utility knife—essential for the rest of the job!
  • Dishes, flatware, especially glasses.
  • Pillows, bedding, towels.
  • Cleaning products, paper towels (which you can also use as packing material).
  • Medication and essential toiletries (soap, toilet paper, shampoo).
  • First-aid kit.
  • Address book or PDA.
  • An alarm clock or clock radio.
  • A small lamp or flashlight.
  • Cellular or plug-in phone (for emergencies).
  • Important papers (bank statements, prescriptions) or computer files.

Packing Supplies

If doing your own packing, here’s a checklist of supplies you’ll need:

  • Boxes, boxes, boxes! Start collecting early—you’d be surprised how many you’ll need. Copier paper, computer and liquor boxes, as well as orange cartons, are your best bet. The more you can collect beforehand, the better…they may take up space but they’re a great money-saver.
  • For clothing, best to purchase large garment boxes (about $15 each). They have sturdy crossbars across the top so you can hang your suits, dresses, coats, etc.
  • Clear plastic bags are great for small stuff and you can easily identify their contents.
  • Packing tape—you can’t have too much. Don’t forget to tape the box bottoms.
  • Masking tape is excellent for labeling or securing covers around larger items.
  • Twine or sturdy cord for tying up cords and boxes and framed items.
  • Labels help you and the movers unload boxes to the right room. Use colored labels to instantly identify each box. And don’t forget the markers.
  • Foam peanuts, newspaper, paper towels or bubble wrap.
  • Small tools, like hammer or screwdriver, for disassembly.
  • A notepad to record and color-code what you packed. Keep this with your important documents.
  • And remember—many moving companies sell sturdy and/or custom boxes.

Packing Tips

Doing it yourself will save you money…but consider a moving service. It’ll cost but you’ll definitely save a lot of time and receive a professional packing job.

  • Label and/or code every box! It’ll streamline your unpacking if you identify and unpack room by room.
  • Start early with a couple of boxes each day. It helps to pack a room at a time.
  • Distribute with heavy items—no box should be over 50 lbs.
  • Use smaller boxes for heavier items (like books) for better manageability.
  • Heavy items go in first.
  • Cover clothing with plastic against moisture or dust